Statins and Diabetes – Time to Let the Cat out of the Bag

Recently, concerns have been raised about the increased risk of diabetes associated with statin therapy. However, it has been pointed out that the risk of diabetes is low in absolute terms and when compared with the reduction in cardiovascular events achieved by treatment. In other words, the potential benefits to health are believed to outweigh potential … Read more

Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance

The metabolic syndrome is a constellation of risk factors, most usually associated with increased body weight, fat accumulation around the abdominal organs often termed central, or visceral obesity (1), and increased resistance to the effects of insulin. Other names that have been used to describe the metabolic syndrome are syndrome X, the insulin resistance syndrome, the deadly quartet (2) and … Read more

Cholesterol and Heart Disease – A Quick Look Beyond

The word cholesterol is inherent to heart disease. Just like Paris is the capital of France and the Moon orbits the Earth, so cholesterol is associated with heart disease. And common knowledge extends further. Most people know that cholesterol is measured in blood and that there’s is supposed to be both good and bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol may … Read more

The Lipid Hypothesis – Closing in on the Truth

Today was a big day at the annual conference of the American Heart Association in Chicago. The results of the long and eagerly awaited IMPROVE-IT trial were presented. You may think IMPROVE-IT is just another ordinary study of the efficacy of a particular cholesterol lowering drug. But it’s more than that because it tests the important and heavily debated lipid … Read more

Fish Oil – Health Benefits of Omega-3 Explained

Fish oil is one of the most commonly used dietary supplement. It has been recommended by some major societies and public health authorities for cardiovascular risk modification, to treat high blood triglycerides and as a treatment following acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). However, many questions remain unanswered. How does fish oil improve health? Is the evidence … Read more

Pycnogenol (French Maritime Pine Bark Extract)

The term “functional food” covers food or food components that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. For example, garlic contains sulfur compounds that may reduce the risk of heart disease. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a compound that may reduce the risk of stroke and prostate cancer. Most functional foods get their health-promoting properties from naturally … Read more

HDL Cholesterol – The “Good” Cholesterol Explained

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) is commonly measured to assess the risk of heart disease. If you’ve had a blood sample drawn for assessment of lipid panel you probably already know if your cholesterol level is acceptable or not. You might also recall something about good and bad cholesterol and the ratio between these two. Of course, … Read more

Dietary Fat, Carbohydrates and Metabolic Syndrome

Time makes us fat. It’s not a myth, it’s a biologic fact. When we get old we get fat. In December 1863, William Banting, an English undertaker who went to great lengths to treat his own obesity, wrote in his now famous Letter on Corpulence: … For I have been generally informed that corpulence is one of the natural results of … Read more

The Triglyceride/HDL Cholesterol Ratio

For years, measurements of blood cholesterol have been used to assess the risk of heart disease. We have been intensively educated about the role of LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), commonly nicknamed the bad cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), often called the good cholesterol. For many different reasons, lowering LDL-C has become a primary goal in cardiovascular prevention. There is substantial … Read more

Can Further Lowering of Blood Cholesterol Save Lives?

For many years, lowering blood levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) has been a key target for individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and healthy people at increased risk for developing such disease. Statin drugs play a key role for risk reduction and are prescribed to millions of people worldwide. Apart from lowering blood cholesterol, … Read more